Public Invited to “Talk Story” on Preliminary Alternatives for General Management Plan of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Media Release:

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has reached another milestone in its work on a General Management Plan and public input is needed. As part of an on-going effort to develop a General Management Plan/ Wilderness Study and Environmental Impact Statement (GMP/Wilderness Study/EIS), National Park Service staff will be hosting several “talk story” sessions to discuss four preliminary alternatives. Written and on-line comments are also being requested through September 30, 2011.

It has been more than 30 years since the park’s previous master plan was completed. Since that time, the park has experienced increased visitation, advances in knowledge about ecological and cultural resources, and numerous volcanic eruptions with the resultant loss of buildings and roadways. In 2003, the park acquired the Kahuku area on the southwest slope of Mauna Loa Volcano. The GMP will document a strategic vision for the entire park, including Kahuku, and serve as a guidebook for the future.

Ranger-led walk at 1969 fissure

Ranger-led walk at 1969 fissure

There are four preliminary alternatives developed by the park planning team to address a menu of topics that include the park’s cultural significance, location of visitor and operations facilities, new or connecting trails, sustainable and climate-friendly operations, education, research, and visitor access and services at the Kahuku Unit. The NPS has also expanded their planning effort to include a wilderness study to determine if NPS-managed lands within the park should be recommended for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. As part of this added scope of the project, additional public input related to wilderness is being solicited during the review period for GMP preliminary alternatives.

“Each alternative offers a different approach to managing park resources as well as a variety of ways to meet the needs of local residents, off-island visitors and students of all ages who continue to come each year to experience this special place”, stated Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. Alternatives are based on prior public comments, federal law and NPS policy, as well as the professional knowledge of park staff.

A newsletter describing the preliminary alternatives and wilderness study is available on the park web site at or at Hawaii Island libraries.

Three “talk story” sessions are scheduled on Hawaii Island for the public to share ideas and comments about the park’s future. The sessions will include a brief introduction to the alternatives, maps and smaller stations for individual discussion with NPS staff, and opportunities to provide comments. NPS staff will be available to answer questions and record comments.

“Talk Story” Schedule

Monday August 22

6:00 pm-8:00 pm

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Kilauea Visitor Center

One Crater Rim Drive

Tuesday August 23

6:00 pm-8:00 pm

Pahoa Community Center

15-2910 Puna Road

Wednesday August 24

6:00 pm-8:00 pm

Naalehu Community Center

95-5635 Mamalahoa Highway

There are several ways for the public to offer comments on the GMP preliminary alternatives and wilderness study outside the “talk story” sessions including filling out a comment form available in the newsletter, submitting comments on-line through a link on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment site, or by mailing comments to: Cindy Orlando, Superintendent, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, PO Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718.

Comments are welcome on an on-going basis throughout the process but are encouraged to be submitted by September 30, 2011 to be incorporated in the preparation of the future alternatives to be featured in the Draft GMP/Wilderness Study and Environmental Impact Statement expected to be available for review in 2012-2013.

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